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Visual perceptual impairment in children at 5 years of age with perinatal haemorrhagic or ischaemic brain damage in relation to cerebral magnetic resonance imaging

      Abstract

      Children with perinatally acquired parenchymal haemorrhage are thought to have better visual perceptual skills than those with leukomalacia. We examined seven prematurely born children with parenchymal haemorrhage and 14 with grades 2–4 leukomalacia, at the age of 5 years. Clinical and magnetic resonance imaging parameters were related to visual perceptual performance assessed with the L94, using performance age. Belonging to the leukomalacia group, the inability to walk, a diminished peritrigonal white matter, a high degree of gliosis and cortical damage were associated with poorer visuo-perceptual skills. Enlarged lateral ventricles, confirming the findings of Melhelm (Radiology 214 (2000) 199), were associated with both cognitive, perceptual and motor problems and probably reflect the considerable extent of the brain damage. Specific factors protecting against visual perceptual impairment were a preserved volume of the right optical radiation and of the splenium of the corpus callosum. Children with leukomalacia are at considerable risk of visual perceptual impairment. Children with right-sided parenchymal haemorrhages also appear to be at risk although they function much better due to better motor and cognitive skills.

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